The lobsters were egg-bearing females and therefore protected by law
Authorities in Maine take environmental protection and species conservation very seriously, hence their threatening to make a local lobsterman named Rick Curtis pay a whopping fine of $190,000 (€142,107) for his illegally “housing” roughly 400-egg bearing female lobsters on his boat.The crustaceans were found on this man's boast last year, while authorities were conducting a routine investigation.
What sparked their outrage when they came across these 400 lobsters was not so much their impressive number, but the fact that most of them were females whose tails had been marked with a v-shaped notch.
Travelers Today explains that, whenever they came across an egg-bearing female lobster, lobstermen are required to mark it in said manner so as to make sure that others know that it is a breeder and therefore a protected specimen.
However, the man now facing the $190,000 fine did not shy away from removing the marked egg-bearing females from their natural habitats, and even went as far as to mutilate some of them in order to remove the v-shape notch on their tail.
Commenting on this man's actions, Colonel Joseph Fessenden, presently employed as Marine Patrol chief, stated that, “We consider this a very serious crime.”
“The illegal taking of any lobsters negatively affects the resource and is a direct theft from those lobstermen who abide by the laws every day that they fish,” Colonel Joseph Fessenden went on to add.
Rick Curtis' son, Todd Curtis, is also being prosecuted for having helped his father illegally take these female lobsters from their environment.
This past Monday, both men were given the opportunity to state their case at the Knox County District Court in Rockland, and both decided to plead not guilty to the accusations filed against them.
As was to be expected, conservationists and those afraid of how illegal fishing practices impact on the environment rejoice at the news that appropriate measures are to be taken against these two lobstermen.